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Official Review by Bryndon Coughlin, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Jeld-Wen is somewhat a familiar territory for the Vikings. Before the stadium was renovated, PGE Park was the home to the Vikings and now try to call Jeld-Wen Field home. It can be hard to consider it home as the program has yet to find a formula to fill the stands and provide a fun college game atmosphere to fans.
The current stadium has other tenants; Jeld-Wen was first used for Major League Soccer for the Portland Timbers on April 14, 2011 and has recently become home for Portland’s new NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) team, the Portland Thorns.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Beer prices range from $5-$9. Popcorn, fries and candy are also available. The menu offers a choice of Zenners local hot dogs. Bacon Cheddar smoked sausage or the Timber Brat seem to be the fan favorites. The Timber Brat is wrapped in bacon and served on a pretzel dog bun with Widmer beer-braised onions.
Local restaurants have their own stations open also. Portland City Grill and Qboba Mexican all seem to be the popular choices.
The stadium overall is laid out nicely. Unless you're sitting fairly close you will most likely be covered from the occasional down pour provided by the beautiful Northwest. Be sure to check the details of your ticket as some seats have obstructed views. The fans that have attended a Timbers game at Jeld-Wen might not see too much of a difference. The Vikings do try to cover the Timbers logos to try to make it more of a home feel for the crowd. Other than the Vikings logo, most of the same specialty restaurants are open and the fan shop for the Portland Timbers remains open during the game .
About two thousand seats were added in 2012. This bringing capacity up to 20,438. Unfortunately, the program isn't in the current direction to even fill the stadium at half capacity. The Vikings fans sit about 10 feet away from the field creating a fun atmosphere for the players and crowd.
The next best seats are Row M located in the Key Bank Club section, you are able to sit a little above eye level and it makes for a great view to see how the plays are formed.
There is a private section known as The Root Sports lounge which can be rented out for big parties. The lounge provides private seating on the same level as the players. The lounge also has a lot more food options and is available throughout the game.
Downtown Portland has all kinds of restaurants, bars and shopping centers. Stop by the world-reknown Voo-Doo Doughnuts and grab a maple bacon or Captain Crunch bar. Grab a slice from Pizzacato, the best pizza in Portland, hands down. The Cheerful Bullpen is the before and after spot for any Vikings home or away games. The Cheerful Bullpen is located within minutes of Jeld-Wen Feild. Portland is famously known for their food carts so don't be shy, they can be the best place for a pre game meal.
Pioneer Square located about 5 minutes from Jeld-Wen is a hot spot for local and national shopping. I also suggest checking out the Nike Factory located across the corner from the historic Multnomah County Courthouse. Nike was established in Oregon so you won't be disappointed by the store and its many interactive features for fans of all kinds. The boutique stores like Compound and Upper Playground can be great places to check out different kinds of art.
The fans throughout Jeld-Wen Stadium are pretty spread out and there doesn't seem to be a place where diehard fans sit together. Chants and coordinated cheers are absent and makes you wonder if you are watching a college football game. There also didn't seem to be a student section.
Out of all the stadiums I've been to, I have never seen such a big spot for bicycle parking. It seems like it's the popular way to get to the area and not take a car. Portland's bus and light rail (known as MAX) system is nicely integrated into stops at and near the stadium block. "Park and Rides" are littered throughout the City of Portland. With the option of the MAX, a fan is cutting costs on outrageous parking prices and gas used to and from the game. I wouldn't suggest trying to park near the stadium as it is located in downtown near other venues that require street parking. Remember to double check the meter signs as these meters that are closer to the stadium run on different times and prices compared to others throughout the city.
The small crowd and quiet atmosphere Portland State games provide makes for an overall experience that doesn't cut it compared to other Division I college facilities. Whether a fan is looking to gawk at a great arena or find a quick adrenaline rush on a loud college atmosphere, this is not the place to spend your money.
The Disc Jockey for the Vikings is one of the better DJs I've heard. He plays music that is family friendly yet not boring and keeps your attention throughout the game.
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